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Farewell to long-serving Gloucester vicar

By This is Gloucestershire  |  Posted: March 04, 2011

POPULAR: Reverend Canon Donald Lyon.

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A CITY centre vicar who served his congregation for 33 years has died at the age of 90.

The Reverend Canon Donald Lyon died on February 11.

From 1952 to 1985 he was the vicar of St Mark's Church in Kingsholm, but that post was just part of a rich and varied career.

Dr Lyon was born at 13 Selkirk Parade, Cheltenham (later re-numbered as 47, Prestbury Road) on July 29, 1920.

He was educated at the Practising School – linked to St Paul's Teacher Training College, where his grandfather had been a senior lecturer – and Cheltenham Grammar School.

He attended All Saints Church and after his confirmation in 1934, he experienced a call to the Christian Ministry in the Church of England.

His time at Trinity College, Cambridge, from 1938 was disrupted by the Second World War and his course was compressed to two years instead of three. But he nonetheless got a first class honours degree in 1940.

He remained at Cambridge to do chemistry research relevant to the war, and was awarded a PhD in 1944 for his thesis on the organic chemistry of arsenic.

He attended Lincoln Theological College, and was ordained deacon in 1947 and priest in 1948, both at Gloucester Cathedral.

Following this, he was Curate at Dursley, then at Brislington near Bristol before being appointed vicar of St Mark's Gloucester in 1952, where he remained until his retirement in 1985.

He married Joan Buffard on April, 5 1945 and they had two children, John and Susan.

He outlived his wife, who died in 2005.


After his retirement he served on the chaplaincy team at Tewkesbury Abbey, as well as the Cathedral and he and his family said he was privileged at being able to lead services at both.

His great loves were the Gloucestershire countryside and cricket. He was a member of Gloucestershire County Cricket Club from his school days.

"He was once asked what would happen if the Bishop wanted to see him during the Cheltenham festival," said his younger brother, Tony. "He replied 'he would stroll across the pavilion during lunch and have a word with me'."

For the past six years he was a resident at Trevone Care Home and held a small family party at the home last July to celebrate his 90th birthday.

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